Macie Stewart & Lia Kohl

Recipe For A Boiled Egg
(Astral Spirits)

A near-religious ardency resonates throughout “Song For Soft-Serve,” the closing track of Recipe For A Boiled Egg.

Macie Stewart’s violin and Lia Kohl’s cello gently coax waves of calm, mirroring the feel of Pauline Oliveros’ The Wanderer, or any number of other deep-listening exercises. Vocals layered atop their strings further a chorale concept suited to a season when we’re all longing for a communal, uplifting note. But the decidedly placid music that closes out the pair’s follow-up to 2019’s Pocket Full Of Bees (Astral Editions) contrasts with its playful title, merging tongue-in-check panache and the seriousness of art music.

“Right Before Dinner,” a gnarled swirl of bowed strings perhaps mimicking the churn of a hungry belly, works the same way—pushing avant-expectations on the moment when hunger makes our guts emit croaking and gurgling noises. All of Boiled Egg works that way, in fact: “Scrimble-Scramble” and “Screaming Tea” get new music-y, despite their playful titles; and the long tones of “Rich, Sticky, Sweet” render both performative endurance and the suspended time of inhaling something delicious.

If improvising is the comity of lightning-fast ideas springing from collaborators’ minds, Boiled Egg might be thought of as a confluence of Stewart and Kohl parsing their concurrent work in the jazz, pop and free worlds—in real time. Regardless, it’s more filling than a five-course meal.

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